Men’s track and field looking for another MVC indoor title
Published: Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, December 5, 2012 00:12
The Indiana State men’s track and field team will look to the 2012-2013 indoor track season with the expectations of earning the indoor Missouri Valley Conference championship title. Last year the team was runner-up in a tight battle with Southern Illinois. They will return this season with many talented athletes after losing some key members.
“Hopefully the team’s expectations should be first getting into the mindset of becoming a team, and also getting ready to compete, as a team to win the team title,” said senior weight thrower Brandon Pounds.
The Sycamores will have athletes in nearly every event that will be competing for all conference honors as well as individual championships.
Pounds is recognized as a national caliber athlete and should bode well in a traditionally very strong conference. He was second in the weight throw a year ago. Junior Chris Field should prove to be a strong competitor in the shot put and weight throw, finishing seventh in the shot put in the indoor MVC championship and fourth during the outdoor championship.
Others to highlight are junior Maurice Lyke, who was indoor MVC champion in the long jump and All-MVC in the triple jump, and senior Bobby Webb was fourth a year ago in the high jump.
“Being [runners up] a year ago hopefully will make the team hungry to work hard,” Pounds said. “A lot of people last year had injuries that came at a difficult time but that is why the team is important, to have someone ready to step up and compete.”
“This year we are going into the season with the mentality that nothing is handed over for free and last year was a painful example of how that crown can slip through your hands at the drop of a hat,” Webb said.
In the sprints senior Justin Baxtron should be near the top of the 60 and 200 meter dash races. He was fifth in the 60 meter and second in the 200 a year ago. Junior hurdler Greggmar Swift should be competing for All-American honors after a season last year concluding at the Olympic games in London, Eng. Lyke will join Swift in the hurdles.
“We have some fantastic sprinters and hurdlers on this team. Greggmar spent much of the summer racing overseas, in Barbados and in Mexico after the NCAA Championships and I think he will have big expectations going into this year,” head coach John McNichols. “Lyke will be right there as one of the top hurdlers in the conference.”
A slew of middle distance runners should dominate the 400 and 800 meter races, as well as the 4x400 relay. This includes juniors Max Tuttle, Jonathan Jackson, Kevin Piraino and Brad Adams.
“Being [runners up] last year hurt bad but just went to show us that we weren’t unbeatable. If anything, it was a reminder that every point is a struggle and that even one can change the course of the meet,” said Tuttle. “We’ll use that to our advantage this year, and running with a chip on our shoulder may be what gets us back to indoor supremacy.”
On the distance side will be seniors Dustin Betz and Albaro Escalera, as well as cross-country national qualifying freshman John Mascari.
“Dustin Betz is in incredible shape this year and I expect big things from him. For John [Mascari] the sky is the limit for what can do this season, we will also have our number four man sophomore Taylor Head ready to step up,” said McNichols. “There will be some great middle distance guys like Adams and senior Corey Hahn who should do well, as well as our middle distance guys like Tuttle and Jackson who could run well at 400, 600, or 800 as well as the 4x400.”
The Sycamores will start their season at Eastern Illinois this Friday, with the meet starting at 3 p.m. Central Standard Time/ 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
“We are not entitled to win the championship this year because of our defending champion team, Webb said. “We are entitled to bring home the indoor and outdoor championship crowns because of the work that everybody has put in everyday and throughout this season since this past summer. I have never seen a group want something more badly, than to win conference and have a good showing at the NCAA National Championship meets.”